Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


Students on the Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples program enjoy a six-week homestay experience with a Tibetan family in Kathmandu. Students share daily activities with their host families and are frequently invited to larger family gatherings as well as cultural events and outings. Through the homestay, students have an opportunity to practice language skills at the same time as learning local manners, customs, and traditions. The homestay is often considered one of the highlights of the program, and students usually become very close with their homestay family.

Other accommodations during the program include guesthouses, hostels, educational institutions and/or small hotels. The group may do some camping while on Himalayan trek.

In the words of the program's senior faculty advisor and Tibetan scholar Hubert Decleer:


"The homestay is the sort of formidable challenge where students are likely to commit most of their early, highly un-Tibetan blunders and, at times, students may feel they're systematically 'putting their foot in it' (mettre les pieds dans le plat). These are the episodes that two months later will make the host families laugh the hardest (‘You know what our student did? He couldn't resist any longer and ate the biscuits from the altar offerings!’), with students quite likely to join in. Learning how to be utterly respectful and at ease, with a light touch and a sense of humor, is the trick and what the homestay ultimately entails.

"Homestay families are likely to take students in tow to major events, whether public or involving the extended family. Almost by osmosis, students pick up a number of good habits, which may become second-nature long before students realize it, but which people in Kyirong, Khumbu, or Shey Gompa recognize at a glance and highly appreciate.

"The homestay is a great experience, for many unforgettable, causing tears at parting time. The contacts between students and their host families in some cases have been maintained for more than twenty years."

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Kathmandu

Language Study: Nepali,  Tibetan

Prerequisites: None


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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